Personal story so beware lol.
I was out adventuring just last week with a good friend of mine. One of our last stops was a comic book store. I’m not one for Western comics, but I checked out the selection as my friend perused her sections. As I was walking through the aisle, one book stood out from the rest. There was no title. There was no watermark. There wasn’t even an volume/issue number. The cover just featured one single image.
It was the image of a mine soaring through the skies like a bat out of hell, fist thrust forward, wearing a very familiar 1930’s flight jacket and a rocket strapped to his back. He had this very odd helmet with a rudder sticking out of the top of it. From the very second I laid my eyes on the cover, I knew who this character was. He was my favorite hero from my childhood. While I liked Batman, Spider-Man, and somewhat of Superman, this hero stood out from them. He was the first hero I ever truly loved. He was the guy I wanted to go up in to. This guy was the Rocketeer.
I was first introduce to the Rocketeer when I was a few years old. The live-action movie adaptation (1991) of the 1980’s graphic novel was a few years old and I had never seen it before. My parents showed it to me and I fell in love with it. There were fist fights, high-flying adventure, a silly but awesome protagonist, a beautiful leading lady, but most importantly: a jetpack. The Rocketeer was unlike anything I saw before. He didn’t have any superpowers and he wasn’t invincible. He was foolish, stubborn, goodhearted, and just human. He was just a guy with a cool ordinary suit, an awesome helmet, and a rocket that allowed him to fly. The Rocketeer was such an attractive idea for a character that tapped into that idea of flight, a gift almost every human would have. He could fly anywhere at anytime. He could fly to Heaven and back in ten seconds flat. Sure he had a few bumps along the way, but he always managed to make it back in one piece.
After I saw the movie, I wanted to be just like him. I made a makeshift helmet and jetpack and I pretended that I was the Rocketeer. My parents even took me to Disney World where they had a display of the costume used in the movie, complete with the helmet and jetpack.
You couldn’t tear me away from the glass. I desperately wanted to wear that costume and go on flying adventures just like the hero did. As time passed, I got older and I slowly forgot about him. I laughed at the occasional memories of my youth whenever they come up, but I never paid too much attention to them. It wasn’t until last week that I became a child again.
Seeing that cover of the new Rocketeer comic series sparked something in my mind. All of the memories flooded back in three seconds. Every sight, every feeling, and every thought returned to me. I could even hear the theme song from the 1991 movie playing in my head. I picked up the book and examined it. I quickly put it back. I had no idea why I was trying to talk myself out of it. It was stupid. I was reliving my childhood here! How could I even think of denying myself this tiny little time machine where I could go back to the glory days?
In the end, I bought the book. And I love it.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that the Rocketeer was a comic book. I was somewhat interested, but I never did any research. That one day last week was when I saw the genuine article for the very first time. Now I want all the books. I need to make up for all the time I lost, but hat’s not the only thing I want to do though.
I’ve been getting crazy ideas for this. I’ve cosplayed twice this year, and I loved every second of it. But now…I want to live out the dream I had as a child. I want to grant that little boy, who stood in front of that display case in Disney World, that one dream he always had. I want to see that little boy smile so hard that it’ll hurt. I want to see him strap on that jetpack and wear that helmet. I want him to fly.
I want to be the Rocketeer.